Dear Bolivia blog readers
As we explained, the last stop on our second day was the village of Caracato. In contrast to the two previous communities, there was a rather different program awaiting us here. On the evening of our arrival, we were supposed to play volleyball and soccer with the local young people. Roland had already warned us that the young people here were very talented athletes, and we shouldn’t have high hopes of winning. To ensure the right spirit, Caritas Corocoro had provided shirts for all the teams with their own logo and the Clean Water logo. We started with volleyball, and it quickly became clear that Roland was right, and the Bolivians reigned supreme. It was a similar story with soccer, where they were very strong technically and also had the stamina needed at an altitude of 2,600 meters above sea level. They richly deserved the winners’ cup at the end.
After the game, we ate dinner together and talked about the day’s events. Each of us had to mention three things which had stood out particularly to us. Before we started on this, we had a visit from the local church youth group, who’d made colorful picture frames they wanted to give us. This surprise confirmed the thoroughly positive impression we had of the people in the three villages.
The next day, we met early for a nourishing breakfast to give us the energy we needed for the morning program – giving Caracato’s village square a facelift. After a welcome ceremony on the schoolyard, we split into eight groups, made up of the young people of the village, teachers, staff from the local health center, the church youth group and the Caritas Corocoro team. As we were only staying in Caracato until the early afternoon, we didn’t have much time to show off our artistic skills with old tires, paint, flowers and a touch of creativity.
The collaboration was very special for our group – besides communicative and intercultural barriers, there were also organizational problems. “At the start, I didn’t believe that we’d achieve anything by noon. It was very chaotic. But somehow it sorted itself out, and we got organized. Everybody contributed, so that despite the initial difficulties it all worked out very well,” René explains. For our apprentices, it was very unusual, as the young people wanted to take lots of photos with them and asked numerous questions, although people were supposed to be working. “The apprentices were very patient and welcoming, and handled the situation very well,” says Anna proudly.
The morning’s results? See for yourself!
Naturally, we only made a small contribution towards improving the village square, but the aim was to make a start and motivate the villagers to finish the project. Given the difficult living conditions, it’s often hard for the locals to find the motivation to tackle things which aren’t absolutely necessary. Who knows, maybe we succeeded, because they were still working industriously when we left two hours later. Some buildings already looked very different from the way we’d left them.
We travelled on to the ruins at Tivanaku and the world-famous Lake Titicaca – but more on that in the next blog post.
You can find more photos of our activities in Caracato here.